With new rules and regulations coming into place in recent years, many Ontario drivers don’t realize what an unpaid fine could mean in the long run. Let’s go over how unpaid fines can lead to Ontario plate denial and what you can do about it.

Photo by Chelsey Faucher

What Is the Making Ontario’s Roads Safer Act?

Passed in 2015, the Making Ontario’s Roads Safer Act encourages safer behaviour on the roads from both motorists and cyclists. It includes increased penalties such as fines and demerits for unsafe driving.

As of 2017, municipalities can also deny drivers a license plate if they have any outstanding court fines. While municipalities could previously deny license plates for vehicle-based offences only, with this new act, driving based infractions such as speeding or recklessness can also result in denial.

Though there’s been some opposition to the legislation, officials hope that the act will encourage safer driving practices. Not only that, but they expect the bill to help erase around $1.4 billion in outstanding fines that Ontario drivers owe to municipalities. 

Can Your License Plate Get Suspended?

There are dozens of infractions that will lead to a license plate suspension. Many Ontario drivers worry about license plate suspension if they ignore fines incurred for infractions on the road. Your license plate can be suspended if you are caught driving without a license or without insurance. Your municipality can deny your plate renewal if you have incurred any fines, including parking tickets. Unlike a suspension, license plate denial only happens when you have to go to get a new one issued or to renew a plate that’s already in use. 

How Does License Plate Denial Work?

When a municipality denies a license plate due to unpaid fines Ontario locals should know the procedure to follow to get it reinstated. You will have to visit Service Ontario to instantly take care of this.

Notice of Failure to Pay

If you have an outstanding fee, the first step that the courts will take is to send you a Notice of Failure to Pay. You’ll receive the notice at the address listed in the Ontario Ministry of Transportation database. 

While the default payment period is 15 days, it can be up to 120 if this is what was arranged. You will be notified on what your payment terms and set time are. Paying your fine immediately can limit your options to dispute your charge and result in significantly higher legal costs. It’s best to seek the advice of a professional, as legal counsel can tell you exactly what your rights are and how best to handle your fine.

License Plate Denial Collection

If you continue to refuse to pay your penalty, you will be unable to renew your license when the time comes. You’ll have to pay any fines and associated fees in full before you can get a new plate for your vehicle. 

What Fines Need to Be Paid to Avoid License Plate Denial?

If you want to renew your license, order a plate sticker, or switch to a personalized plate in Ontario, you have to pay all defaulted driver fines in full. This means vehicle licensing fees and unpaid highway tolls, as well as vehicle fines.

Though a broad category, vehicle fines generally include infractions such as running a red light camera, ignoring school bus rules, operating an unlicensed taxi, or unpaid parking tickets Ontario residents ignore. 

You also have to pay defaulted driver fines if you want to be eligible for license plate renewal. This includes all fines and fees such as speeding, driving under the influence, racing, and careless driving. 

Can You Renew Your License Plate If Your Driver’s License Is Suspended?

Getting your suspended driver’s license back can be scary and confusing. You must pay outstanding fines, complete any court processes needed to clear the suspension, and gather any documents that state the suspension has been lifted (such as a Notice of Suspension letter, medical letter or affidavit). Once suspension is lifted, you can renew your license and then renew your plate.

Renewing or regaining your driver’s license happens by following the steps for reinstatement that the MTO provides after paying a reinstatement fee. Once your license is suspended, this action stays on your record permanently. It isn’t removed by paying the reinstatement fine, and this is one of many reasons why you should consult a professional.

Paying off reinstatement fees and Administrative Monetary Penalties (AMPs) is necessary if you want to renew your license plate. Though doing so won’t necessarily make you eligible to drive again, you will be able to get new plates without any issues.

Can You Get Around 407 Plate Denials?

Many Ontario drivers find their license plate suspended due to toll violation fines, often racked up on Highway 407. Fortunately, if you owe the 407 ETR money, we have some tips on how to beat 407 plate denial.


If you have to file for bankruptcy, it will waive all of your outstanding 407 ETR fees. The company can’t collect on debts before your declaration, and they will lift any Ontario plate denial relating to your toll violations. You’ll be able to renew your license without any issues.

Consumer Proposals

A consumer proposal is where you repay creditors a percentage of your debt in full and all at once in exchange for total debt forgiveness. If you make a consumer proposal, you can get your 407 ETR debt lifted and renew your license without having to file for bankruptcy. 

Have You Been Charged Driving With A Suspended License In Ontario?

If you’ve been charged with driving with a suspended license in Ontario you should contact us as soon as possible. We have skill and experience in helping drivers just like you respond to accusations of driving with a suspended license and provide free, confidential consultations to empower you to fight your charges. We help drivers throughout Ontario including CambridgeGeorgetownLondonWindsor and from our home office in KitchenerContact us online or call us directly at 1.844.647.6869 or text us a copy of your ticket to 226-240-2480.